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Space satellite to be equiped with SWIR arrays

The space-borne Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative, a joint undertaking of the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA), has awarded Sofradir a €2.5 million contract to provide a batch of 15µm pitch multi-linear shortwave infrared (SWIR) arrays for its satellites.

These IR detectors, based on Sofradir's Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) technology, are replacing a competing technology previously used in European space projects. The multi-linear SWIR arrays are for the Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI), an earth observation instrument onboard each of the GMES Sentinel-2 satellites. Sofradir will start delivering flight models for the two Sentinel satellites by mid 2010.

Philippe Bensussan, chairman and CEO at Sofradir said: 'Getting the go ahead to supply more IR detectors of this calibre for the Sentinel-2 satellite is a clear demonstration of the confidence our customers have in our products and marks another step forward for Sofradir in the space market. We are delighted with the outcome.'

Sofradir is involved in a growing number of satellite and space missions, covering applications such as earth mapping, environment and disaster monitoring, meteorology and planet exploration. The company's MCT IR detectors are in orbit in the Helios IIA and IIB, French military earth observation satellites the latter of which was launched last December.


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